Le Clown Bar, Paris

Housed within the former dining room of the Cirque d’Hiver (built since 1852) in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, Le Clown Bar is as known for its historic circus and clown-themed interiors as its eclectic Modern French fare with Japonais influence.

Its iconic dish, veal brain served exactly how you would imagine brain to be in a chilled ponzu dashi broth, made waves through the food industry thanks to its former Japanese chef Sota Atsumi (now at Maison), who reformed the restaurant’s kitchen in 2014 with bold, adventurous cooking not seen elsewhere in Paris at that time. Beyond having a distinct flair for injecting international influences into Paris’ dominant classic French dining scene, Atsumi’s dishes were delicious and unequalled without being overly mod-Asian.

The dish of veal brain in ponzu, ginger and chives bore a similar taste profile to shirako (milt) and is well balanced, with the right amount of acidity and salt cutting the heaviness of the creamy brain. It is also fitting of Parisians’ tastebuds, given their appetite for offal dishes in the local dining scene.

Now that Atsumi is no longer at the helm of Le Clown Bar, his signature dishes including said veal brain and the duck and foie gras pithivier thankfully remain on the menu and are said to still be perfectly executed. And if you are a Vin Méthode Nature drinker, do come by for the restaurant’s entirely natural wine selection too.

Overall, a comfortable experience with good service, as well as exciting and tasty Franco-Japanese dishes that would not bust the wallet. Recommended!

The pithivier of medium-rare duck and foie gras encased in hot, buttery pastry and served with a date and yuzu purée is incredibly delicious and a must-order at Le Clown Bar.
The millefeuille with banana and caramel was too sugary sweet for our liking. Would trade for a slice of Jacque Genin’s multi-layered, flaky goodness of a classic millefeuille any day.

Le Clown Bar

114 Rue Amelot, Paris, 75011 Paris

Opening Hours: Lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday.